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How and Why to Change DNS Servers

Alessio has reported security vulnerabilities to Google and Apple. He also has a past as a web developer and web server administrator.

How and Why to Change DNS Servers

How and Why to Change DNS Servers

The Importance of a Fast Internet Connection

Nowadays, everyone gives importance to internet connection speed. If once it was common to wait a few seconds for a web page to open, today, this would be inconceivable. Moreover, having a fast internet connection is vital if you play games or watch movies online.

You need a fast internet connection to watch Netflix or other streaming services.

You need a fast internet connection to watch Netflix or other streaming services.

Several Factors Influence Internet Speed

When talking about the performance of an internet connection, most people believe that having pure fiber and a well-optimized PC is enough to enjoy seamless internet surfing. Still, other factors, including the DNS server, influence your internet speed.

How Do DNS Servers Affect Internet Connection Speed?

DNS is a system for attributing domain names to IP addresses. When we visit a website, for example, Google, we're going to connect to a remote web server, which is reachable through a public IP address.

The DNS server acts as a registry that keeps track of all the public IP addresses and associates them with the domain name of the websites you visit.

Thanks to the DNS server set in your device and the nameservers associated with the various web properties, it is possible to maintain a distributed database that allows everyone to access websites by typing a domain name without remembering an IP address.

Moreover, the ability to associate IP addresses to domain names makes it possible for multiple websites to run on the same server.

Default DNS Servers vs. Google and Cloudflare

Most internet service providers manage DNS servers as the default choice of their customers. Still, should you rely on the default servers?

Below are three disadvantages of using the default DNS settings provided by your ISP:

  • Your ISP can see your browsing history, as most default DNS servers are not encrypted;
  • DNS server is often slower than the alternatives provided by Google and Cloudflare;
  • You may access websites censored in your country, even if this is not a big deal, since in most cases, censorship applies to illegal websites one should avoid in advance.

Changing DNS Server to Google

We know Google for its powerful search engine, Gmail, and other services millions of people use worldwide. Still, Google also provides a powerful DNS server with two perks:

  • One of the fastest performances;
  • Privacy, as Google offers DNS over TLS and SSL encryption.

Below are the IP addresses of the Google DNS Server:

8.8.8.8

8.8.4.4

Google Headquarters in Berlin, Germany

Google Headquarters in Berlin, Germany

Changing DNS Server to Cloudflare

Most internet users know Google for its consumer services.

On the other hand, Cloudflare is a less popular brand, despite its crucial role on the internet, as it provides one of the most extensive content delivery networks worldwide. Its popularity remains high among web developers and IT administrators, as Cloudflare's CDN is one of the most reliable in the market.

In addition to the CDN, Cloudflare manages the fastest public DNS service in the world. Enabling this for your internet connection means enjoying one of the fastest domain name resolution experiences.

Below are the IP addresses of the Cloudflare DNS Server:

1.1.1.1

1.0.0.1

Cloudflare also offers alternative DNSs for families that provide additional protection against malicious websites and adult stuff.

If you want to enable anti-malware protection, you can use the alternative IP addresses:

1.1.1.2

1.0.0.2

Finally, if you want to use the most restrictive edition of Cloudflare DNS, which blocks malware and adult websites, you can use these IP addresses:

1.1.1.3

1.0.0.3

How to Change DNS Server

Most WiFi routers allow the change of DNS servers through the administration panel and enforce these for all the connected devices. This solution has two advantages if compared to changing DNS settings on your devices:

  • If you change phone or PC, you don't need to set up DNS servers again;
  • You apply the new DNS settings once and for every person using WiFi in your house.

Still, you may want to set the new DNS servers on your device, especially if:

  • You want to experience fast domain name resolution also outside your home;
  • You don't have WiFi at home.

The instructions below will help you configure DNS on your phone, tablet, or PC.

How to Change DNS Server on iOS Devices

Due to system limitations, you can only change DNS on iPhone and iPad for WiFi connections.

Below are the passages to configure DNS settings for your WiFi connections without using external apps:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap on "WiFi";
  3. Tap on the blue circled "i" near the WiFi connection you use;
  4. Switch from "Automatic" to "Manual";
  5. Add the two IP addresses of the DNS servers you want to use (Google, Cloudflare, or other providers).

A Google DNS Configuration on iPad for a WiFI Connection

If you want to configure DNS servers for your mobile network and automate the configuration also for every WiFi network you connect, you can rely on two alternative options:

  • Use Cloudflare DNS official app, as will be explained in the last section;
  • Use apps like DNS Override that do the same job as Cloudflare's official app, allowing you to choose also among other DNS services.

These apps overcome iOS system limitations by creating a VPN setting that forces a custom DNS server on WiFi and mobile connection. This solution is suitable for people who don't use a VPN, as, in that case, it would be impossible to configure both services.


A Google DNS Configuration on iPad for a WiFI Connection

A Google DNS Configuration on iPad for a WiFI Connection

If you want to configure DNS servers for your mobile network and automate the configuration also for every WiFi network you connect, you can rely on two alternative options:

  • use Cloudflare DNS official app, as it will be explained in the last section, or
  • use apps like DNS Override that do the same job as Cloudflare's official app, allowing you to choose also among other DNS services.

These apps overcome iOS system limitations by creating a VPN setting that forces a custom DNS server on WiFi and mobile connection. This solution is suitable for people who don't use a VPN, as, in that case, it would be impossible to configure both services.

DNS Override App on iPad

DNS Override App on iPad

How to Change DNS Server on Android Devices

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap Wi-Fi;
  3. Long tap on the network for which you want to change DNS;
  4. Tap on "Modify network";
  5. Under "IP settings," select "Static," then type the two IP addresses of your preferred DNS service under "DNS 1" and "DNS 2".


A Google DNS Configuration on Android for a WiFI Connection

A Google DNS Configuration on Android for a WiFI Connection

Like on iOS, you cannot change DNS for mobile connection unless you use an external app, like Cloudflare's official one.

However, if you use Android 9 or a newer version, you can configure universal DNS settings for all your internet connections, so also for mobile data, with the "private DNS" feature. Below are the steps to perform:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap on "Network & Internet";
  3. Tap on "Advanced";
  4. Tap on "Private DNS provider hostname."

At this point, you'll need to type the hostname for your preferred DNS service. In this case, you should use write:

  • "dns.google" (without comma) if you want to use Google DNS, or
  • "one.one.one.one" if you prefer to use Cloudflare.
Setting Private DNS Mode With Cloudflare DNS

Setting Private DNS Mode With Cloudflare DNS

How to Change DNS Server on Windows 11

  1. Open the Start menu;
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on "Network and Internet";
  4. Select the adapter for which you want to change DNS (if you use Ethernet or WiFi, select one of them);
  5. Near "DNS server assignment," select Edit;
  6. Select "Manual" under Automatic (DHCP);
  7. Turn on the IPv4 toggle;
  8. Configure your DNS servers.
Setting Google DNS Servers on Windows 11

Setting Google DNS Servers on Windows 11

How to Change DNS Server on Windows 10 or Older Versions

If you use Windows 10:

  1. Open the Start menu;
  2. click on Settings;
  3. Click on "Network and Internet";
  4. Click on "Change adapter options."

If you use an older Windows version:

  1. Open the Control Panel;
  2. Click on "Network and Internet";
  3. Click on "Network and Sharing Center";
  4. Click on "Change adapter options."

At this point, proceed with these further steps:

  1. Right-click on the connection for which you want to change DNS settings: if you use Ethernet or WiFi, right-click on the corresponding adapter;
  2. Click on Properties and select "Internet Protocol Version 4";
  3. Select "Use the following DNS servers" and type the two IP addresses of the DNS you have chosen: the first goes in "Preferred DNS Server," while the second goes in "Alternate DNS Server."
Setting 1.1.1.1 for Families on Windows 10

Setting 1.1.1.1 for Families on Windows 10

How to Quickly Set Cloudflare DNS Server on Every Device

If you want to set up Cloudflare without manually configuring your DNS settings, you can rely on the official 1.1.1.1 app, which is available for mobile devices and PCs.

The app is suitable for people who:

  • prefer to use Cloudflare DNS and set it up quickly,
  • are not tech-savvy and don't want to mess with system settings, or
  • use iOS and want to change DNS for mobile connection and WiFi.

Once you install the app, you can choose between two configurations:

  • DNS-only;
  • WARP, a service that combines Cloudflare DNS with a VPN that encrypts and routes all your traffic to the Cloudflare network.
Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 App

Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 App

The app sets the default 1.1.1.1 DNS server; it still allows the configuration of 1.1.1.1 for Families. If you wish to use the alternative DNS servers that block malware and adult websites, you can perform these passages:

  1. Open the app menu;
  2. Tap on Advanced;
  3. Tap on Connection options;
  4. Tap on DNS settings;
  5. Select the 1.1.1.1 for Families option you wish to enable.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci